For one in three of us here in Australia, our parent or relative aged over 65 years will have at least one fall every year. Given our ageing population, with a longer life expectancy, combined with less stability, stiffer joints and more brittle bones in our later years, the risk of falls – and their potentially severe consequences – is only set to increase.
Here at Sole Motion, we’re big advocates for the importance of fall prevention – and the important role that podiatry plays. But don’t take our word for it – numerous studies have been conducted that show that podiatry interventions (treatments) reduce falls for in older people who live in their own homes. Today, we’re discussing the real impact of falls, how podiatry can help your family, and what you can start doing today to promote the health and safety of your loved ones.
If you’ve never had a loved one experience a serious fall, it’s easy to think of it as a very fall-down-get-up-recover-back-to-normal cycle. The reality is very different. Falls don’t just result in potentially longstanding and painful injury, but can also result in hospitalisation, function and mobility loss, fear and even death. Broken bones are not an uncommon appearance with falls, with fractures of the hip, femur and other bone or joint pain making it difficult to remain mobile and independent.
When it comes to foot problems, these are proven to be associated with the occurrence of falls. Risk factors include foot pain, restricted movement (especially at the ankles), bunions, reduced muscle strength in the feet and footwear-related factors3.
As podiatrists that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of the feet and legs, we offer a number of solutions that help promote mobility, stability, confidence in everyday life, and importantly, a reduction in falls risk:
Both foot and ankle exercises, as well as orthotics and footwear, have been shown to have beneficial effects on balance and falls in aged individuals living in their own home. Education is another key component of what we do, working with both patients and their families to both implement strategies and improve understanding of why and how falls occur, and how to help prevent them.
The unfortunate reality is that if your family member has had a fall in the past six months, they are more likely to fall again. To help protect your family, we’ve jotted down some ideas to help reduce the risk of falls starting today.
Our team at Sole Motion would love to help. Our experienced podiatrists understand the importance of staying mobile and independent – and work with many patients and families to help manage the risk of falls while improving foot comfort and helping with painful foot problems. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 1300 FXFEET